More Queenslanders escaping domestic violence can now ensure their pets are kept safe from harm and cared for at animal shelters across the state.
The Palaszczuk Government has committed $200,000 to significantly expand the Pets in Crisis program – a partnership between the RSPCA and DVConnect.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women, and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Shannon Fentiman, said the program was vital in protecting women and children.
“Pets are often used as part of coercive and controlling behaviour, with perpetrators threatening pets to control and intimidate their partner and children,” Minister Fentiman said.
“Providing safe and emergency accommodation for pets, gives victims greater comfort that they can leave the dangerous situation they are facing.”
The $200,000 funding will provide places for more than 240 additional pets, almost doubling the capacity of the program, which cares for around 300 animals each year.
“It’s incredibly sad that not only are families inflicted with fear, intimidation and harm, but their pets are also subjected to violence,” Minister Fentiman said.
“That’s why some of the funding is going towards veterinary services.”
Minister Fentiman saw first-hand the quality of the program when she visited the RSPCA animal care campus in Wacol late last year.
“Victims can reach out to DVConnect which liaises with the RSPCA to find temporary accommodation for pets at either an RSPCA shelter or with trained foster carers,” Minister Fentiman said.
“This is such important work undertaken by these organisations – for those seeking refuge from violent homes this could be the additional support that provides peace of mind to escape a life-threatening situation.”
Darren Maier, CEO from RSPCA Queensland said on average animals in the Pets in Crisis program will stay about a month with RSPCA staff or carers, which can equate to 4,000 care days annually, plus veterinary expenses.
“Additional funding is certainly welcomed so we can continue to offer pets a safe haven and provide their owners with reassurance their beloved companions will be well cared for during their time of need,” Mr Maier said.
Beck O’Connor CEO of DV Connect said our aim is to make sure victims of violence are supported across a range of services that enables them to safely leave their situation.
“No-one should have to choose between escaping abuse or leaving their pets behind in an unsafe home. The expansion of this program will help us support more Queenslanders to safety,” Ms O’Connor said.